Wednesday, October 2, 2019

One Resume Writer’s Journey: Retiring One Day at a Time (Guest Post)




This guest post was submitted by an anonymous career industry colleague who is retiring on her own terms. It is part of a new occasional series about how resume writers can successfully transition out of their businesses. 

I started retiring three years ago when I turned 62. I decided to retire “a little at a time” because I watched the difficult transition experienced by several friends and family members who retired suddenly. However, I know others who set a retirement date and followed through happily. One friend said he knew the day he would retire on his first day of work. He despised his job for 30 years, retired early, and never looked back.

I have had jobs I felt that way about, but writing resumes and coaching clients isn’t one of them. I still love what I do. I still help my clients succeed, so I am not in a big hurry to leave. In fact, loving my work is one piece prompting this slow-motion retirement. I need time to let go.

The second piece is energy. I realize I have less than I used to. Before this year, I have rarely needed to plan activities around energy reserves. That is starting now, and that means I need to pay closer attention to priorities. My husband and I want to travel more, and I’ve worked on the road enough to know it’s not that much fun.

Another is focus. Although I have always relied on a calendar to organize my time, I find myself leaning more heavily on it to remember important information. My notes are becoming more detailed because I need more help remembering them. I don't want that change to ever affect a client’s project.

Finally, there is motivation. I am getting ready to be done with work. I feel less like taking on big projects. I feel less like doing sales calls. I still enjoy writing, but I feel like doing it less often. These are marked changes, and I need to attend to them.

I took Social Security at 62, mainly because my husband is 10 years older than I am, and we anticipate that I will receive his larger benefit upon his death, which, for the sake of planning, we assume will be earlier than mine.

Receiving Social Security allowed me to make less each month, which ironically didn’t happen until this year. I had two of my best years and then a really sparse one. It did give me was more time right away. I quit all marketing efforts except reposting articles by colleagues on LinkedIn. My rationale was that if I stopped marketing, business would gradually decline, and that was my goal.

As a result, I gained about a day a week. Instead of sliding client work into that space, I added other things to my life. I got a puppy who needs daily walking, training, and playtime. My husband and I are traveling to visit our children, grandchildren, and friends more often.

This year, I will receive Medicare, which will take much of the health insurance expenditure out of the picture. When this happens, I plan to work even less. I am not sure yet what that looks like. It may mean I no longer coach clients, so that my projects are shorter in duration. It may mean that I keep coaching but take on fewer clients. It may mean that I work the same amount of time I do now during “regular” weeks and take longer stretches of time off for travel. In any of those scenarios, it will likely mean that I refer out more prospects who aren’t an ideal fit.

In this stage, I am letting the process guide me. I am paying more attention to what I want to do or what I want to avoid. I no longer have to power through to pay the bills. But that is a new experience for me, and I don't know how I will feel about it. So, instead of following my usual path of planning the heck out of anything I need to do, I am letting it be, watching the volume and schedule of work, trying one thing and then another and seeing what happens.

I think the best approach will become clear, and if it doesn’t, I can always set that retirement date.


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